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King Melishipak presents his daughter to the goddess Nannaya
Babylonian astronomy refers to the astronomical theories and methods that were developed in ancient Mesopotamia. Babylonian astronomy formed the basis for much of the later astronomical traditions that developed in Greece, India, the Middle East and ultimately of modern Western astronomy.

Astral theology, which gave planetary gods an important role in Mesopotamian mythology and religion, began with the Sumerians (before 2000 BC), and created a place of importance for the study of astronomical phenomena. Texts from the First Babylonian Dynasty (ca. 1700 – 1531 BC (short chronology)), show the earliest use of mathematics to describe the variation in day length over a year, and the Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa is the earliest evidence that planetary phenomena were recognized as periodic.

During the 8th and 7th centuries BC, Babylonian astronomers developed a new empirical approach to astronomy. They began studying philosophy dealing with the ideal nature of the universe and began employing an internal logic within their predictive planetary systems. This was an important contribution to astronomy and the philosophy of science, and some scholars have referred to this new approach as the first scientific revolution.

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Sargon II and a courtier
Sargon II (Akkadian: Šarru-kinu, "legitimate king", reigned 722 – 705 BC)

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Stele of Ashurnasirpal II (detail)
Credit: ChrisO
Stele of Ashurnasirpal II (detail)
Assyria, 883-859 BC (British Museum)

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Did you know...

Nabonidus Cylinder
...that the Hurrian language and the Urartian language are proposed to be distantly related to the modern Armenian language?

...that the Aramaic language, the lingua franca of the ancient Near East in Biblical times is still spoken as a first language today?

...that the syllabic cuneiform script was adapted to create a phonetic alphabet twice, for the Ugaritic language and for the Old Persian language?

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